Monday, November 28, 2005

I Love You Emiliana!!

Just got back from seeing Emiliana at The Metro. What an amazing gig. Emiliana is gorgeous, sweet, funny, chatty, cute, gorgeous, enchanting, captivating.. oh, and she can sing too. AND play the ding-dong.... Her look reminded me a bit of a younger Dervla Kirwan.. hmm, I think I'm gushing.

The night started off with The Devestations. Which reminded me a lot of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Much the same brooding vibe.. but with some awesome guitar solos on the louder songs... unfortunately some of the quieter, slower melancholy songs (which was most of them) were ruined by a talkative crowd...

Anyways, on came Emiliana.. and she was really nervous. I man really. She said it was the biggest audience she's played to (Metro holds about 1,200 people I think). Anyways she broke into a few songs and the nerves dissapeared. Pretty soon she was cracking jokes about rubing her panties in a guys face and checking out cameltoe in Texas (long story).

She was absolutely goegeous in a little white/pink dress, looking very tiny next to a big microphone (I think I'm gushing again)... She would often tell a little story about the song before starting it (like about her best friend who inspired Heartstopper and wanting to write a love song on a summers day which lead to SummerBreeze or spending a summer bumming in London eating Haagen Dazs).. oh andshe told a cute story about her fear of doing encores after a gig in Scotland.. all very cute and funny.. she had the whole place laughing.

It was clear she really gets into the zone when performing.. I thought shewas going to cry during Fisherman's Woman, which isn't surprising consideringit's heartbreakingly sad...

In the end, there was no doubt, it was one of the best shows I've seen this year.. she's an incredible performer and I'll be first in line for the next time she's in Sydney.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sculpture By The Sea, 2005

Sculpture by the Sea has rolled by again.. This year has gone by so fast I honestly thought that the last time we went was actually earlier this year...

This year's exhibition didn't grab me as much as last year, there were certianly a few that I really liked. Amongst them, the Hurdles (very similar to the PostSecret project), the loopy flame thing below (my name, not the official one!) and the construction sign.

For all the photos, click the image below:

From Sculpture by ...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mobile to Flickr Integration

yay! worked out how to forward photos from my crappy camera phone to my flickr account! So, I present my first flickr photo - of my niece Shana..

Friday, November 11, 2005

Spoiler Free Reactions - Knife of Dreams

Phew! About time! I guess it's not a good thing that the main reaction I've had to finishing this book is relief. Knife of Dreams is the 11th (!!) book in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. If you don't know what I'm talking about then just ignore this post, trust me. :)

OK so this book is actually quite good. I spent a few nights up till 2am, and it's been a while (maybe about 8 years!) since a Wheel of Time book was that engaging. Reading this book you get a distinct feeling that Jordan is running through a list of threads that he needs to wrap up, and he does that. Plotlines that have been dragged out for I don't know how many books are finally resolved. It's a relief, but there is a sense of anticlimax because they were built up over such a long time.

The one thing I can say for certain is that this book proves that RJ lost his way in a major way from books 7-10. Those four books could (and SHOULD) have been condensed into a single volume, with the climax being the battle at Shadar Logoth.

KoD shows some gilmpses of the old RJ brilliance, specially in Egwene's story. It took her back to the strong young leader she was before, and hopefully will continue to be. The Mat and Tuon thread was fun and reached a semi-satisfying point. The much hated Perrin-Faile threads and Elayne's Andor civil war threads are dealt with, but not withoutsome pain. I still want Faile and Elayne to die suddenly and painfully. Rand was almost non-existent in this book, coz you know, he's the main character!

The villains were boring and ineffective as usual, except for a bit to do withthe Black Tower. Semirhage's thread reached an interesting point, and if RJ introduces another twist to it I will be very pissed off. Now is not the time to complicate things even more.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the book. It's actually re-kindled some interest inthe series, and I'm actually looking forward to the last book. Not that I think RJ can finish it off in one book without some major compromises.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Favourite Films

I had this list of films floating around various places, so I thought I mightas well put it up here for all to see. In no particular order..

After a discussion with some Dreni-ites last night, thought this list could do with some updating. New films on the list are marked as *new*.

With more to be added later.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Paul Graham - Business and OpenSource

This talk given by Paul Graham at this years OSCON (podcast of speech here) is one of the most profound talks I have heard in a while. Not profound because it says something new, but profound because it pulls together what appears to be disparate pieces of common sense and puts them together in a cohesive whole.

The underlying theme of his talk "What Business Can Learn from Open Source" is that the lesson "is not about Linux or Firefox, but the about the forces that produced them. Ultimately these will affect a lot more than what software you use.."

Two things he said (amongst many others) has particular resonance with me. First is that the Opern Source community and blogging are market economies. You can go ahead and build something or write an article about whatever you like, but it won't get noticed or popular unless it's good. The audience itself evaluates the idea and passes judgement. In a corporation, things are done in a much more top-down way. You are told to do something, and do it in a particular way. In market economies (and in nature as well) the best ideas or products rise to the top based on their merit / survivability. Corporations that work in a supposed market economy are most certainly NOT market economies themselves.

The other idea Graham put forward is that of workplaces. He makes so many brilliant points that I'm tempted to quote that whole section verbatim. Anyways, I'll settle for a few points he makes. The first is that offices themselves are very poor places for people to work. "The atmosphere of the average workplace is to productivity what flames painted on the side of a car are to speed." So very true.

Why do I have to work in a big office with all these people I never talk to. In my work day, 95% of the communication I do is with the three other members of my team. And one of them (Hi Ben!) is located 800Kms away in Melbourne. The idea that we need to be in an office to see our peers face-to-face is just not true.

"To me the most demoralizing aspect of the traditional office is that you're supposed to be there at certain times. There are usually a few people in a company who really have to, but the reason most employees work fixed hours is that the company can't measure their productivity. The basic idea behind office hours is that if you can't make people work, you can at least prevent them from having fun."

Graham goes on to explore these themes in more detail, and I can only encourage people to go read/listen to his presentation.

The only problem is that I can't actually work like the way he suggests. Very few companies are that flexible. Oh well, there is hope yet.